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What do you listen to while working?

The gym I go to is a small and very dedicated subset of exercise: a black iron gym. This means you walk in, and see roughly ten squat racks on individual platforms meant for weightlifting alone, and a lat pulldown machine in the far corner, The other room has even more platforms, with competition-specific weights and two concept two rowers that are used only for warmups. There are only two ancient treadmills, and only folks who are in a specific rehab use ’em. If they disappeared, it’d take weeks to notice. People are there to concentrate on doing their training, competing against themselves and marking sets and reps in notebooks or apps as they progress.

And there’s always music on in the background. You can tell who got to the radio first (or overruled the others) by what’s playing. The young gentleman who coaches high schoolers, Chase, is quite fond of metal. My coach (and the gym manager) Carmen, is not fond of metal, and after a while the channel will firmly get changed to a 60’s & 70’s station. The gym owner has his own distinct preferences,  which overrule everyone else’s (yesterday was blues). Several lifters bring earbuds so they can listen to their own chosen playlist, at their own volume.

The music aids concentration, and also provides a background cue for rest time between sets – if you’ve been chatting for two songs, unless you’re doing severely impressive amounts of weight, it’s past time to get back to your rack and lift another set. (I do not lift impressive amounts of weight. Well, they’re impressive for me compared to the shoulder rehab I was in a year ago, but I overhead press 65 pounds. Chase recently overhead pressed 330 pounds!)

Moving on to artist studios, I often find Pandora or an MP3 playlist in the background, set somewhere from faint white noise levels to feeling my lungs compress with every bass beat (Sound levels don’t seems to correspond to the tone or style of the piece being painted, weirdly.)

And when it comes to writers, one of the easy symbols I have worked out with Peter is that if he’s got music pouring out of his office (or has headphones on), he’s busy working and not to be disturbed. His music only overlaps mine at the fringes – we both like Nightwish and Blackmore’s Night, but from there, while I may like electronica and ambient, I only respect Tubular Bells as a seminal work in the field; I don’t enjoy it enough to play it instead of Chicane or Adam Fielding.

Some writers seem to prefer instrumental, not wanting words in to interfere with words out – while others will use songs from the right era, or mood, to set the tone.  (Interestingly, lifters often report same split – that some people find music with words they understand distracting, so they listen to epic, instrumental, or music in a language they don’t know.)

Then again, I use music to keep any ADH…Squirrel! tendencies from distracting me in the middle of boring or complicated tasks. Peter knows  if I’m blasting music, I’m working, whether it’s on a blurb or on cleaning the toilets, and generally leaves me alone. Even if he does look mildly bemused at Ivan Torrent and VNV Nation as housecleaning music, and or longsuffering at cooking something complicated to Bruderschaft or Newsboys, even though the kitchen is next to his office. (I have no idea what expression he has for my writing playlist, because I’m busy trying to wrestle words onto the screen.)

…of course, the cats are no respecters of music as a cue that I’m concentrating on something other than them. Cats will be cats!

Do you use music to help concentrate or set the mood? If so, what does your writing playlist look like?

54 Comments
  1. I run Pandora on my computer while writing, and I have a half dozen or so stations that I listen to regularly. Which station depends on the type of scene I am writing, I’ve made one for fight scenes, one for love scenes, several that I personalized for particular characters or worlds.

    The cadence of language is very important to me, so I always write to music.

    May 6, 2018
  2. i sleep to classical, usually Mozart or another composer of the 1750-1825 period. Other times? Selena (I knew her), select rock or disco. Gym is normally current pop, and I ain’t high enough on the pecking order to change it.

    May 6, 2018
    • I got introduced to it recently; fun stuff.

      What I listen to depends on the scene and mood.

      May 7, 2018
      • “it’ is a vague pronoun referent. I dunno what you mean.

        May 7, 2018
        • Ignore my last comment. The video appeared this time. I SWEAR it wasn’t there before.

          May 7, 2018
        • I linked a youtube video of music. That’s the ‘it’ I refer to.

          May 7, 2018
          • I saw it. The comment app took its own sweet time about posting the vid. Wasn’t there at first, hence my confusion. Rzzl-frzzl WordPress.

            May 7, 2018
  3. Zan Lynx #

    Instrumental, electronica, dance music, EDM, and intersections of those when I’m programming. Words are distracting.

    May 6, 2018
  4. Nightwish is one of my favorites as well. For some of my more dramatic scenes, I like to listen to Two Steps From Hell, Audiomachine, Thomas Bergersen, and other primarily instrumental music. One of my favorite Japanese singers is Angela.

    May 6, 2018
    • Well, if you like Nightwish and Two Steps from Hell, I’m going to check out these others you’ve listed.

      May 6, 2018
      • I second Audiomachine. Thomas Bergersen is part of Two Steps from Hell. You might look into Really Slow Music as well (it’s not all slow) and Epic North and Antti Martikanian.

        May 6, 2018
    • Christopher M. Chupik #

      You can find lots of stuff like that on YouTube.

      May 6, 2018
    • All good stuff!

      Nier: Automata’s OST is good too.

      May 7, 2018
  5. Music? What’s that? Typically I don’t have anything playing in the background. If I do, it’s some random selection that is run from YouTube.

    May 6, 2018
  6. I usually have stuff without words in the background when I’m trying to write, because words get in the way.

    Either soft jazz, or Christian instrumental music.

    May 6, 2018
  7. Epic music for a lot of things, medieval or early baroque for things that seem to require more of a set mood and place, and metal not in English or German. Sometimes I go to YouTube and pull a goth playlist or something together, or tune in to Epic Music VN and some of the other compilation channels to see what’s new/different/on a theme.

    I had one book I wrote mostly to the opera _Boris Gudanoff_. *shrug* and The Wicked Tinkers caused the second Familiars book, so anything goes so long as it won’t distract me with too many words.

    May 6, 2018
  8. I’m another who finds words I understand get in the way, but I also prefer music that fits what I’m writing at the time. When I’m working on my serial these days, I have a playlist on my computer that’s got the soundtracks from Witcher 2 & 3 and from Ori and the Blind Forest. About the closest I’ve found for my Indo-Persian world is a particular flavor of very new-age trance – or bhangra/bollywood, until I learn the lyrics. For working out/cleaning/pumping myself up? Metal – Nightwish & Kamelot in particular – or 80s & 90s alt rock… And sometimes musicals. Greatest Showman has been getting a lot of play recently.

    May 6, 2018
  9. Terry Sanders #

    I prefer silence. Since that’s almost impossible to get, I settle for white noise, oceans, rain, etc.

    If there are words I listen to them. If the music is good I listen to it. If the music is bad I try (unsuccessfully) NOT to listen to it. Distracting in every case.

    Music is for when I can pay attention to it.

    May 6, 2018
    • Zsuzsa #

      I understand. I have a Pandora station of “Music I kinda like but don’t love” that I play at work.

      May 6, 2018
  10. TRX #

    Once I’ve heard a piece of music enough times, it just becomes part of the background noise., At best I don’t notice it; at worst… there are local businesses I no longer patronize because they insist on blaring “music” I emphatically do NOT enjoy or want to listen to.

    May 6, 2018
  11. BobtheRegisterredFool #

    I need me some silence sometimes.

    I have a white noise cd I use to distract myself enough to fall asleep without being exhausted. (I also need to deliberately think about something that isn’t thinking.)

    I use headphones at a really low level. If someone is playing something over speakers, good chance it is too loud for me. (Deep down, at the instinctual level, I think it is rude to use speakers. The only time I use those is for the going to bed white noise, and those are turned down to be inaudible outside of the room.)

    I have a browser on one account that plays youtube for working to. This is deliberately selected for instrumental, or lyrics in languages I don’t understand. Another browser on a different account on the same machine has the youtube memory mostly filled with AMVs, which I listen to for fun or inspiration or to distance myself from stressful environmental sound.

    May 6, 2018
    • “…deliberately think about something that isn’t thinking.” Neat trick.

      Sigh, I am all too often, well, not “thinking” about scenes, but watching them unfold. Of course, then I have to get up to write them down. (Tried recording on the stupidphone, but that never worked out.)

      May 6, 2018
      • BobtheRegisterredFool #

        It’s more badly written description.

        I have a few bugs in my thinking. Forex, I’ve wasted tremendous time and energy fruitlessly trying to process social interaction. As in chasing my tail, discovering nothing new but unable to stop. That particular flavor of fixation is a problem when I’m trying to sleep and have enough energy to keep thinking. I also can’t easily sleep when in a genuinely creative and analytical state where I am learning or inventing new things, or when I merely think I am. (The right states of mental impairment give me a false positive for being able to work effectively.)

        Sleep comes easily and quickly when I can find something to think about that occupies my mind, and does not inspire any new thoughts. A lot of the time visualization works, when I don’t start working out the physics of whatever I’m imaging.

        May 6, 2018
  12. Margaret Ball #

    I use music as a sort of transition from “real” life to writing. First thing in the morning (okay, second thing; coffee always comes first) I put on a CD of music that I find pleasing but not so compelling that I’ll be happy doing nothing but listening to it (e.g. Galluppi works, Mozart doesn’t) and tell myself “If I notice when the music stops, I’ll get up and do something useful.” Most days I quickly get my head so far into the book that I don’t notice anything in the so-called real world for two or three hours.

    What kind of music depends on the book. The current series is light and frothy, and Viennese operettas fueled the first four books nicely. Right now, though, I’m plotting Book 5 and find myself getting distracted by such burning questions as “What exactly are they singing about in ‘Szép város Kolosvár’ and what does Kolosvár have to do with the colors of the Hungarian flag?” Probably need to switch to something instrumental for a while!

    May 6, 2018
  13. Christopher M. Chupik #

    Damn. I got to listening to some music and now I’m breaking my two-week writer’s block. 🙂

    May 6, 2018
  14. Brett Baker #

    No love for classic country?🤔

    May 6, 2018
    • Dorothy Grant #

      My playlists also have Corb Lund, The Steeldrivers, The Wailin’ Jennies, Allison Krauss… Probably not quite what you have in mind, but they make me happy!

      In fact, currently working on the fight scenes to Wailin’ Jennies “Starlight”

      May 6, 2018
      • Brett Baker #

        Our local classic country station plays a lot of 90s. I graduated in’91 so it’s good music. And a disturbing reminder I can’t call myself young.
        Also where I’ve done what little writing I have done, it was the least likely station to cut out on my radio headphones.

        May 7, 2018
  15. Zsuzsa #

    My writing music is usually the playlist that I think my main character would make if given the music on my computer. That can include anything from 6th century Viking music to some nice 80s bubble gum pop (sometimes in the same list). Making that playlist is one of the fun things about starting a new project!

    May 6, 2018
    • Margaret Ball #

      Oh, that does sound like fun! Hmm, my main character has already made her tastes in music clear; for a little more of a challenge, maybe I’ll try to figure out what her partner’s playlist would be.

      May 6, 2018
  16. Myself, I used to use white noise as a mask – but that was long enough ago one could set a TV to an unoccupied channel to get it (and “snow”). Other times Classical for concentration (leaning towards but not exclusively Vivaldi). For energetic stuff, ’50’s Rock’n’Roll, for general listening… it’s a wide mix, but excludes Opera, Country (mostly – the less whining/plaintive it is, the better so ‘Tiger by the Tail’ is acceptable, but ‘Achy Breaky’ must die[1] , and Rap (“The ‘c’ in ‘rap’ is silent.” as $HOUSEMATE puts it) with exemptions for novelties (“Rappin’ Rodney” [Dangerfield] as an example). Plenty of novelty tunes[2] that would put many off – for most it’s spice, for me it’s a main dish. For “normal” music, more big band/swing. I used have a couple tapes (ancient beast is ancient) one of the nonvocals for when words distract. Not sure if I put PEnnsylvania 6-5000 on that or the vocal cassette.

    The fun time are when people know I like big band swing and generally ‘ancient’ (to them) tunes of the pre-rock era… and then Iron Man gets cranked and there’s a collective headsnap/doubletake to see if they need to check for pods or something.

    [1] Parodies are an exemption. That bit about novelty tunes applies. ‘Eaky Leaky Spleen’ is fine.

    [2] Or just ‘old’. The time I got the fancy new wireless setup or the brand new mp3 player and the music was stuff digitized off cylinders… yeah, that happens.

    Also, I recognize a few bands listed and find you *might* (MIGHT) like stuff like this:

    From DJ Bronxelf at Gothika. Due to business busy-ness it’s just the ‘Wednesday Night Darkwave’ until further notice (barring migraines) and ‘Monday Night Dark and Sticky’ and the ‘Thursday Night Apocalypse’ are suspended – for now. There are a handful of things she won’t play, and one of them is Nightwish, fwiw.

    May 6, 2018
    • Well, that giant gap was unexpected.

      May 6, 2018
    • RCPete #

      $SPOUSE sleeps in, and my programming has pretty much always been sans-music, but if I’m doing wood or metalworking in the shop, it can be anything. If I’m making noise (frequently), I’ll play something that doesn’t matter if I miss a minute or 15. If it’s quiet work, and I don’t mind the distractions, it’s either some 70-ish rock, show tunes (“Anything Goes” for a recent road trip), or something humorous. A recent favorite is the parody from the Pallet-Swap-Ninja, Princess Leia’s Stolen Death Star Plans</i?, that manages to be a damned good recreation of the music from Sgt Pepper's mashed up with A New Hope. "Luke is in the desert and whining" is good…

      If I have something to mull over and want it to be a background process, I'll reach for the classical music comedy. Years ago, I was introduced to Peter Schickle's P.D.Q. Bach parodies, and have several. The Anna Russell album has a track with an analysis of Der Ring des Nibelungen, from the viewpoint of an average opera goer is dead-on funny. "The opera opens in the river Rhine. In it.”

      May 6, 2018
      • RCPete #

        so much for a blown close-italic tag…

        May 6, 2018
    • Vavaldi is good, if people could just get past the idea that Spring is the best thing he did. I lean a bit more towards Mozart and Wagner. My best guess is I like the darker notes of woodwinds and brass of the sharper notes of strings. Could explain why I prefer Johann Sebastian Bach to Johann Christian Bach.

      May 7, 2018
  17. Metal. Lots and lots of metal. Primarily power metal that plays with pace and doesn’t often slow down. And when it does slow down it still keeps the same tone.

    I need to stay in the mindset of the scene and that’s facilitated by keeping on a path which is why I like listening to one artist at a time with full albums.

    For example I have used Nightwish but I think I bought the wrong CD because it was a live best of and the crowd noise and the changing singers seemed to demand attention at the wrong time. Some recommendations for those that like Nightwish; Epica, Kamelot (best sample song would be The Haunting).

    Disturbed works for me but they have some bad albums mixed in with the good ones so I have to make sure my Ipod just doesn’t play everything (bad music is distracting), their last album was excellent (the one with Sounds of Silence on it).

    Sabaton is awesome. Also, go see them live if they’re touring near you. They are just so much fun on stage.

    My absolute favorite is a Canadian band called Danko Jones. They play with pace, fire, and urgency while keeping a consistent tone and thematic presentation (basically they are heterosexual, not ashamed of that, and willing to share that information at all times.)

    I started listening to music because I found the sound of the keyboard would become music when I was flowing but when it wasn’t flowing the music of the keys would be disjointed and break what little concentration I had. If I was typing quickly and confidently the music of the keys clacking would reinforce that and if I was typing slowly the off-beat intermittent canter of the keys would reinforce that. Actual music smoothed that out and seemed to make it more likely I’d find the flow quicker.

    When editing I find metal isn’t the best choice partly because it makes me read fast and gives me an adrenaline rush that doesn’t let me see if what I wrote naturally has that adrenaline rush on its own. That’s why I have a lot of odd albums that people wouldn’t associate with me (metal would be). Nothing boring, but a lot of slow blues albums, a bunch of adult contemporary, a lot of country, anything that moves me into an analytical, thoughtful mindset.

    Steve

    May 6, 2018
    • Seconded for Sabaton, particularly going to see them on tour.

      I’ve also found that Lindsey Stirling makes for good writing music. Some of her slower stuff might be good editing music as well.

      May 6, 2018
  18. Luke #

    I tend to echo whatever meter is playing, so most of the time I’ll play a selection of Western, and keep everything at the steady, slightly staggered beat of a walking horse’s gait. (Riders in the Sky, Sons of the Pioneers, etc. “Lonely Yukon Stars” by Riders in the Sky is a great example, and features yodelling in 3-part harmony.)

    May 6, 2018
  19. Silence is what I prefer for writing, but I have sensory integration issues and sound especially is processed differently by my brain. Or, more accurately, sound is not processed well by my brain, and sound tends to take over the circuits. The more sound there is, the fewer brain circuits I have available for thought.

    However, I find the data entry portion of working on my AMS ads to be deadly dull. And it requires no thought at all. (The thinking happened when I selected the hundreds of keywords.) So I listen to Eurielle, Lindsey Stirling, Clannad, and Loreena McKennitt while copy-pasting all those words.

    (Gotta say…I’m a little jealous of your lifting prowess, Dorothy. I’m just getting back to the gym after nearly a year away and my overhead press is now all the way back down to 10 pounds. Boo hoo! 😉 )

    May 6, 2018
    • You’re way ahead of me on AMS – I need to just leap in with both feet. Or at least dip a toe in the water!

      And hey, yay for getting back to the gym! Bet it’ll come back faster for you than it’s gaining for me, as I’m building it from completely unconditioned for the first time!

      May 6, 2018
      • I’ve found Mastering Amazon Ads by Brian D. Meeks to be helpful.

        May 6, 2018
  20. I listen to music to get in the mood and think about the story and the possible next scene. But when I sit down to actually write, I need silence.

    May 6, 2018
    • I love silence. It rarely happens. Music is the solution.

      May 6, 2018
  21. Mary #

    Classical mostly. All the way from Baroque to movie soundtracks.

    May 6, 2018
  22. Dan Z #

    Music-wise, lately I’ve had a preference for Postmodern Jukebox playing in the background while I’m writing. Some days, like today, I just open up the windows and use the background sounds outside (birds singing, the occasional dog barking, the distant ebb and flow of the highway, the equally distant sounds of the regional passenger trains making their way up and down the valley, etc) as, well, background noise. The one thing that can be distracting about that are the catbirds – for some reason the call of a catbird always makes me chuckle. Late at night sometimes I’ll just enjoy the quiet that settles over the house – the house is too old for silence, but it does get comfortably quiet at night. Every now and then I’ll make up my own songs to go with whatever I’m writing.

    May 6, 2018
  23. I have an EDM playlist that I habitually start going when I’m at home. First up is Wintergatan, then Petite Biscuit which was recently added, after that Attom, Autograf, MCR (not EDM but what the hell) and Pryda, The Fat Rat, Parov Stellar, Joris Voorn, Axwell, lots of one-hit wonders too. After a while I’ll put the computer on shuffle and then there’s everything from high classical to the Chieftains to the Ramones to Jeff Beck. I think there’s a John Denver in there somewheres. ~:D

    I’m old, there’s a lot of fricking music collected over the years. And now, just lately, I can get all of my collection on my phone. Who among us saw that coming?

    Playing music while writing is nice, because it drowns out everything that’s trying to get my attention away from writing. If its dead quiet, which it often is here in the Great Hayfield, I don’t have anything on. Just me and the Chiclet keyboard going clickety clack.

    Speaking of things y’all city people don’t get to see, the Lancaster bomber flew over my house today. Four Merlins singing. Can’t hear that sound anywhere but right here in Hooterville. Yes, you bet I ran outside to see it.

    May 7, 2018
  24. stuart #

    I go with instrumental (ambient) metal. My current writing sounds is an album named “Ode to the Author” by a group called Toska. It started out as self defense when I attempted NaNoWriMo this past November (didn’t finish… maybe next time! I’m still a newby writer. Pretty sure my problem was that I need at least a vague plot outline before I start pantsing so I don’t get caught spinning my wheels). My grandmother (since passed) had gotten to the point where her constantly-on TV couldn’t play any louder (volume completely dimed) and she still complained she couldn’t hear it. There wasn’t a place in the house where it didn’t sound like the speaker was right beside your head (I’m still amazed we didn’t get noise complaints). So, ear buds, metal, and try to ignore the Jeopardy questions you can STILL hear ALMOST well enough to answer.

    Since then, life has changed. Grandma is off to heaven, probably squabbling with Grandpa… her favorite pass-time in life as far as we know, so no more loud TV. However, since then my Ex-wife (the second) lost her mind and moved out of state, dropping off our two daughters with me on the way out. YAY!! It’s awesome having my kids every day. Talking to them about school, helping them with projects (they have no idea the plans I have once the house settles!) On top of that, my oldest daughter (from Ex-wife the first) also moved in (fiance in tow) until they can get their feet under them. So I now have a FULL house… I can for-see listening to a LOT of music in my future. I wonder when Toska will come out with another album…

    May 7, 2018
  25. OldNFO #

    I guess I’m an oddball. Old and half deaf, I don’t listen to music when I write. I might have a news talk channel on, or nothing. I can’t hear music well enough to enjoy it anymore.

    May 7, 2018
  26. “Do you use music to help concentrate or set the mood? If so, what does your writing playlist look like?”

    Yes, in fact I have an almost irrational need to have something playing when I work – be it the day job, working around the house or writing. Walking in the woods and taking photos is the opposite, I want it nice and quiet.

    The play list will depend, to some degree, on what I am writing. One story that is set is a primate world I like to have Native America music playing (will be interesting to see if that holds when the setting changes). The SF fan-fic is typically Manheimsteam roller or perhaps Celtic. The urban fantasy is pretty much what ever. When nothing else catches my attention, I’ll default to classical or jazz/swing. About the only thing that seems constant is the preference for instrumental music when writing.

    May 7, 2018
  27. Tim McDonald #

    I have several different workout playlists, but my favorite is:
    Light of Day – Joan Jett version
    Little Willy – The Sweet
    Long Cool Woman – The Hollies
    I Can’t FIght This Feeling – REO Speedwagon
    Centerfield – John Fogerty
    Day Drinking – Little Big Town
    I Hate Myself for Loving You – Joan Jett
    Let Your Love Flow – Bellamy Brothers
    Minstrel of the Dawn – Gordon Lightfoot
    Pour Some Sugar on Me – Def Leopard
    Redneck Girls – Bellamy Brothers
    Rip It Up – Little Richard
    Rolling in the Deep – Adele
    Sugar, Sugar – The Archies
    Sundown – Gordon Lightfoot
    Take It On The Run – REO Speedwagon
    Time for me to Fly – REO Speedwagon
    Tutti-Frutti – Little RIchard
    You Make Lovin’ Fun – Fleetwood Mac
    You Really Got Me- Van Halen

    I just went through and pulled them out of My Music on Amazon, and they work incredibly well together for a workout. I have several more, but none of them motivate as well as this one.

    May 7, 2018
  28. Draven #

    Covenant, VNV Nation, Assemblage 23, Cruxshadows, Ego Likeness, Wolfsheim, mind.in.a.box, The Cure, cut.rate.box, Haujobb, Destroid, Gary Numan, I:Scintilla, Ayria, Angels and Agony, Azoic, and Juno Reactor.

    (that’s the bands in my playlist titled ‘working music’)

    May 7, 2018
  29. I was the youngest in the family, so never got to pick the radio station, and now that I’m married, my husband’s computer is the one with all the MP3s. Honestly, I forget that I can play music half the time—and with a tyrant of a three-year-old yelling at me whenever I play something *I* want to hear, that’s probably how it is at the moment.

    The funny thing is that my light fantasy novel, written pre-kids (yeah, I was slow at getting around to publishing), was largely written to European progressive metal, swing & ska, and a Canadian artist named Devin Townsend, who I like to describe as “heavy-metal Enya.” This despite the fact that multiple medieval and quasi-medieval songs are referenced in the text. (And all but one of them exists.) I had, at one point, a theme song for the book (which is actually referenced) and then a modern song for each section. I should try to reconstruct that, or at least fake it up.

    May 7, 2018
  30. There’s a lot of good suggestions, and (God and Satan willing) maybe I can write a whole article for the Mad Geniuses on great music, from rock albums to trailer music to anime, but I do have to recommend one artist right now.

    Yoko Kanno

    Her entire discography is a list of the song that I keep hearing in my head way too often when I need a song. A short list of the series that she’s done and why the music about them is so important to me-

    *Macross Plus-Imagine, oh, 1993-1994. Anime Expo has just moved to LA/Anaheim after being in Oakland, and it’s the last day of a four day weekend of a classic, awesome convention. You’re in a large banquet room that is OVERFLOWING with people…sitting on the floor, finding any wall space they can find, anything else. Why? They’re bringing over, pretty much fresh from the production reels, the first episode of a whole new Macross series. Since Macross, in the form of Robotech was one of my first gateway series into the world of short skirts, huge weapons, and even more impressive…talent, I had to see it.

    So, I’m waiting there enthusiastically…and the first three minutes is a cuteish “friends doing something neat” scene. Instant rejection, right?

    Wrong. The music over that scene, happy but wistful and lonely, that trails off just perfectly into the opening fight scene, is Voices.

    And, I was hooked so hard, that you can’t even believe it.

    The music kept just getting better from there, from “National Anthem of Macross” (which will make you feel patriotic for a country that doesn’t exist) to “Welcome to Sparefish” (which defines Isamu’s character so well) to “After, In The Dark” (it proves to anyone that remembers the era of mega-rock bands that filled up whole stadiums with shows that an AI could actually DO THAT) at the end credits…

    And the rest of the music keeps going. From “Information High” to “Torch Song” to “Dog Fight” to “SANTI-U,” the music was not what you expected from that era. I mean, you would feel lucky if you got cheap synthesizer work on a PowerMac, let alone…this amazing body of work.

    *Cowboy Bebop-Or, as Alternate Universe John Williams puts it, “<a href="It's Like Getting HIt Over The Head With A Sock Full Of 'Johnny Quest'." The music runs the gamut from “’70s cop shows” to “perfect jazz quartet” to probably the most awesome opening music ever in the form of “Tank”.

    This is the series that I recommend to anyone that wants to know what “this whole ‘anime’ thing is about” and one of the big reasons is the music.

    Ghost In The Shell:Stand Alone Complex-Trust me, the title gets longer. We’ll just call it SAC for now.

    The music for SAC is the music in a trinity of soundtracks that I consider to be the defining voices of my ideals of cyberpunk (the other two being The Crow and the first “Ghost In The Shell” soundtrack). It steals from everywhere with the opening themes being sung by a Russian opera singer (and, I can score Rise to so many things, it isn’t even funny). There’s “Get 9” (which works WAY too well), or “Run Rabbit Junk” (you can score any number of scenes of special/black operations teams staging an assault on someone to this song) to “I Do” (which is so quietly sad that I can hear echos of it in too many of my stores) to “Tourika” (I can so easily see a three way “lock-and-load” montage in this song), to “Good By My Master” (probably the best “doomed fight in the rain and the dark” music I’ve ever heard).

    With a few exceptions, most of her work is on iTunes. “Brain Powered” is fun, “Escaflone” is one that if you want to take sword-and-sorcery music to the next level-this is your album (Arcadia is worth the price of admission alone), and “Song To Fly” has such a variety that it’s awesome.

    (Sadly, iTunes doesn’t have “Macross Plus,” “Macross Frontier,” or her compilation album “Space Bio-Charge“, which is several kinds of shame.)

    May 7, 2018

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